08/23/2012 1:01PM

Northlands Park: Canadian Derby’s distance the question for Devil in Disguise

Four-Footed Fotos
Devil in Disguise is looking for his fourth straight stakes win.

EDMONTON, Alberta – The 1 3/8-mile marathon distance of the Grade 3, $200,000 Canadian Derby at Northlands Park on Saturday always plays an important role in the outcome of the race. If the derby was contested at 1 1/8 miles or less, Devil in Disguise would be as close to a lock as you can find. But there is no guarantee he will be able to handle going four turns over the five-eighth-mile Northlands oval for the first time.

Devil in Disguise will be a heavy favorite when the Canadian Derby begins at approximately 5:45 p.m. Mountain. The Canadian Derby drew nine horses and headlines a 13-race card that includes three supporting stakes, the $75,000 City of Edmonton Distaff, the $50,000 Sonoma, and the $50,000 Westerner Handicap.

Devil in Disguise, trained by Dennis Terry, is shooting for his fourth straight stakes win. He came from a stalking position to win both the River Rock Casino and Chris Loseth at Hastings, where he was trained by Troy Taylor. He was involved right from the start when he won the Count Lathum in his first start at Northlands for Terry. In the Count Lathum, he dominated his rivals, and for the second half of the 1 1/16-mile race jockey Mario Gutierrez kept looking around for challengers.

Terry likes the way he is coming up to the race.

“He has put on about 100 pounds since he arrived here,” said Terry. “I’m not worried about the distance. He is versatile, and Mario can put him wherever he wants.”

Up Jumps a Monster figures to be the second choice in the wagering. He was undefeated until he finished second in the $75,000 Manitoba Derby at Assiniboia Downs on Aug. 6. He was an impressive winner of the Ky Alta at Northlands in his previous start. Instead of facing Devil in Disguise in the Count Lathum, trainer Rob Chabot was hoping for an easier spot in Winnipeg for Up Jumps a Monster, but ran into another tough one in Balooga Bull, who ran away and hid by 9 1/2 lengths.

Trainer Reade Baker reported that Speyside and Bear’s Taurus arrived from Woodbine in excellent shape Thursday morning.

Speyside is coming off a second-place finish in a nonwinners-of-two allowance race for Ontario-breds going a 1 1/4 miles on turf July 7.

Bear’s Taurus also ran on the turf in his last race, finishing fifth in a first-level allowance race for 3-year-olds and up after a rough trip.

“They are two big, healthy horses that shouldn’t have any trouble going the distance,” said Baker. “The surface is a question, but they have trained well over the dirt training track at Woodbine, especially Bear’s Taurus.”

Dougs Buddy is the speed of the race, but his trainer, Joan Petrowski, thinks he might be a bit suspect going 1 3/8 mile. Petrowksi also trains Toccetive, who rallied to finish second in the Count Lathum and the Ky Alta.